Published online by Cambridge University Press: 25 November 2021
One of the most striking aspects of Clara Schumann’s songs is the way they flow. They tend to move in four-bar phrases, but each four-bar phrase is connected seamlessly with the one that follows it. One way that she creates this feeling of seamless continuity is by weakening or avoiding cadences at the ends of musical sections and the poetic stanzas associated with them, fusing together adjacent sections and stanzas by softening, smudging or even erasing the musical and poetic punctuation marks at the end of them. This chapter considers how and why she does this. Through a close analysis of two representative songs – ‘Warum willst du and’re fragen’, Op. 12 No. 11, and ‘Ich hab’ in deinem Auge’, Op. 13 No. 5 – it highlights the strategies that she uses to join together sections and stanzas, as well as the various ways that those strategies relate to the poetry. In so doing, the chapter not only reveals a crucial hallmark of Clara Schumann’s song aesthetic, but also ponders a question that has been largely neglected in recent studies of romantic form: how do musical and poetic closure relate to one another?